Elegant Power (3)
"No." He shook his head slightly. "It was my mistake."
The taste of muttering to himself was bitter.
* * *
They said that if one laid in bed all day, the body would mistakenly believe that it was time to sleep.
It didn’t seem like it was just a rumor.
Her consciousness drifted in and out.
Lily slowly opened her eyes, looking at the empty space where her husband should be.
The room was completely dark without a single lamp. As if the window was open, a faint chill flowed in, freezing the tip of her nose.
She got up.
"Are you awake?"
A clear, low-pitched tone could be heard from a distance, without any sleepiness in it
For a moment, she was skeptical.
There were quite a few steps from the bed to the window. Was the quilt rustling too loud?
The doubts soon subsided. It was because the room was so quiet that even the sound of a grain of dust falling was noise.
Vlad was standing in front of the window sill, looking out at the moonless night.
"I must have been lying down too much during the day. Since when have you been awake?" Lily’s small yawn muffled her speech.
"I usually sleep very little."
She lowered her feet, trying to put on her fur slippers. As she sat on the edge of her bed, she tidied up her white robe.
In the center of her bedroom, Vlad lit the nearest wall lamp as she got up from bed.
Lily, with her eyes half closed, walked towards the dim light.
She stood next to the window, looking into the face of her young husband.
That gaze was somewhat worrisome.
As if hesitating, she placed her hand on her window sill. "Did you have a bad dream…?
She already knew that he slept little, but this was the first time she had seen him at dawn.
What was the reason why people woke up in the middle of the night and stood by the window without even thinking about sleeping?
Perhaps no one knew better than her of the long nights of torture by nightmares.
He grinned and gently pulled his wife into his arms. Surrounded by him, a scent like an old winter tree tickled her nose. Cold, deep and heavy, it felt like his soul.
Lily gently wrapped her arms around his waist as if to soothe him. "Did you have such a dream? About war…"
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He said he had been on the battlefield 15 years.
Ever since Dandelion was 3 to when he turned 18 years old.
Vlad playfully rubbed his hand on the back of Lily’s head. "I have been to war far more times than I have eaten sweets in my life. Expeditions are like walking through a flower garden for me."
She tilted her head and looked up at him. His face, as sharp as a sculpture, caught her eye from a distance. "That’s why I’m more concerned."
Even a man who wielded an iron sword his whole life for the purpose of killing people should be naturally afraid of war.
Day and night, rolling and crawling in the mud splattered with dust, filth, flesh and blood, and walking along an endless boundary between life and death.
Even if he was a hero who eventually survived and returned, he was still someone who went home to a wife.
Although he didn’t talk about it, he even seemed to be in a good mood. "You are the only one under heaven who cares about me."
Lily stopped gazing at the scenery.
He was still as cool and unbothered as usual, but there was kindness in his eyes. "Worrying about me is probably the most useless thing in the world."
"Useless…" Pain pricked her chest. "How can… you say it so casually?"
"Because it is true. You just have to accept it that way." He pecked Lily’s forehead.
It almost stung.
Could he have forgotten how to take care of himself?
"It’s fine. Don’t worry about me, think for yourself. Don’t you have another day ahead of you tomorrow?"
Indeed, he was also a person who had lived his life hated.
All he had to do was just to fulfil his responsibility.
He could not escape from the prison set up for him, becoming a broken human being.
Have I ever wondered what kind of person lives under his shell?
Regret bitterly rose within her.
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Your fears, your pain… What kind of life have you led?
Why did she always realize things so late?
Her emotions were heavy, and Lily gently lowered her eyelids.
[Like Vladislav himself… Is it just waiting for its end? This whole city?]
Ivan’s words echoed quietly in her mind like some kind of incantation.